President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla De Peiza is not impressed with the performance of the Mia Mottley administration marking its first 100 days in office.
Speaking on the Sunday edition of Down to Brasstacks, De Peiza, the first woman elected at the helm of the DLP, said “I don’t know that they have been doing all that well.”
In fact, she acknowledged that while the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government was talking more to Barbadians, “they are not necessarily giving you all of the information.”
She first pointed to the Barbados Economic and Recovery Transformation (BERT) plan that was outlined by the joint economic recovery team last Thursday, suggesting that it was not new and contained measures first proposed by the former DLP Government.
“They say they are fixing what we have done. But we have the package that was spoken about just this week, and styled BERT, which has a component of job losses to be bolstered by something called Re Re [a programme to retool and retrain workers affected by job cuts]. I spoke earlier of catch phrases and that is what they are,” she charged.
De Peiza insisted that that the DLP had undertaken a similar initiative when it retrenched thousands of Government workers in 2003.
She explained that the retraining component was spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour and those persons who had been laid off could also benefit from the Unemployment Retraining Fund which provided a stipend to affected workers once they could show that they had signed up with the Unemployment Bureau for courses geared towards retraining.
“They are fixing it [the economy] by doing some of the same things that we did and I think overtime people will realize that you can’t really get away from that because there are only so many options that you have especially when you are cash strapped.”
De Peiza also knocked measures outlined in the June 11 mini-budget, charging that the Government failed to deliver on its election campaign promise to ease suffering Barbadians.
“The campaign promise to relieve the tax burden by removing the NSRL [National Social Responsibility Levy] and introducing the fuel tax has actually translated into an additional tax burden for most people. The application of the municipal solid waste tax, which was heavily opposed, actually garnered less money than the $1. 50 per day on the water bill.
“That extra 45 dollars is a significant tax burden whether you want to look at it as a tax or not , that is what it is.”
The DLP president also took issue with the handling of the sewage woes on the south coast, insisting that the BLP had not brought any new solution to the table.
“All hot and sweaty in Opposition knowing what to do to fix the south coast and then here we are, they are now in Government and they are recognizing that it wasn’t so easy after all.”
Earlier this month Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams announced that the injection wells constructed under the former Government at a cost of $3.7 million had failed.
He announced plans for the construction of a $2.4 million outfall one kilometre off the cost of Worthing beach.
However, De Peiza charged that this was “worst because right now we have polluted waters in terms of the sea,” she said.
She stressed that the DLP would continue to keep a close eye on the BLP, noting that the Government had to deliver real results more than talk.
“What is the spoken word and what is the actuality are not matching up. They are still in the honeymoon period as I said but we will take careful note of whether or not the two lines run parallel or whether they intersect at any particular time, but for the time being I can only see parallel lines,” De Peiza claimed.